Characterization of Nutrient Solution Changes During Flow through Media 2005-01-2774
A research project has begun to identify the best cultivar for strawberry production as part of an advanced life support system for space. For the cultivar trials, hydroponic systems will be used, so the plants can be grown optimally under controlled environmental conditions and without water stress. The objectives of this project were to determine changes in nutrient solution characteristics, specifically dissolved oxygen (DO), electrical conductivity (EC), hydrogen ion concentration (pH), and temperature, versus four different flow rates (0.5, 1.0, 2.0, and 3.6 L·min−1) at fixed distances in the hydroponic channel with and without media. Three media treatments were used: 1) no media, 2) arcillite, and 3) perlite. The results showed that the highest flow rate (i.e., 3.6 L min−1) exhibited the most uniform conditions of all nutrient solution characteristics and for each of the media treatments over the 7.92 m length of channel. Additional system testing is required to determine how the nutrient solution characteristics are affected by the inclusion of plants.